UC Davis

Loreto Godoy, left, died from June 21 injuries. Fernando Mardones and daughters are back in Davis.

UC Davis grad student dies from injuries suffered in I-5 crash

Published: Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 - 6:20 am

UC Davis veterinary school graduate Loreto A. Godoy has died from injuries she suffered in a car crash June 21 that killed three others, including her husband's parents, according to a UC Davis news release.

Godoy, 32, and her husband, Fernando O. Mardones, 36, were driving to Southern California last week when a 29-year-old man traveling north on Interstate 5 crossed the median and collided head-on with their car.

The man, as well as Mardones' parents sitting in the front of the car, died at the scene.

Family members told university officials Wednesday that Godoy, who died at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, was an organ donor.

Mardones and the couple's 8-month and 4-year-old daughters survived the crash. They have returned home to Davis with broken bones, and they expressed gratitude to the UC Davis community, the news release said.

Friends, faculty, and the Chilean community launched an online fundraiser last week to help Mardones cover medical and funeral costs.

As of Thursday night, the effort had raised more than $121,000. Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/3czto4.

Godoy and Mardones earned master's degrees from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

They went on to study for their doctorates; Godoy researched conservation ecology.

"Loreto was a bright star in our graduate program and, by all accounts, a fantastic mother," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in the news release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Godoy and Mardones families."

Holly Ernest, an associate professor in residence at the veterinary school, described Godoy as an "angel."

"She is always helping other students, and when we have been banding hummingbirds, all of the volunteers just love her," Ernest said in a statement.

Call The Bee's Jeffrey Dastin, (916) 321-1037.

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